The Profits Of Religion

Overview

It is not too much to say that today no daily newspaper in any large American city dares to attack the emoluments of the Catholic Church, or to advocate restrictions upon the ecclesiastical machine.
-from "Holy History"

Few readers have not heard of Upton Sinclair's 1906 book The Jungle, his fictionalized account of Chicago's meatpacking industry, which set in motion dramatic social and governmental changes and highlighted the power of ...

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The Profits of Religion

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Overview

It is not too much to say that today no daily newspaper in any large American city dares to attack the emoluments of the Catholic Church, or to advocate restrictions upon the ecclesiastical machine.
-from "Holy History"

Few readers have not heard of Upton Sinclair's 1906 book The Jungle, his fictionalized account of Chicago's meatpacking industry, which set in motion dramatic social and governmental changes and highlighted the power of investigative journalism. But his 1918 book The Profits of Religion, a viciously witty censure of religious institutions in America, remains unjustly obscure.

Drolly but bitterly subtitled "an essay in economic interpretation," this potent book condemns religious leaders for taking advantage of the credulity and hopefulness of ordinary Americans to line their own pockets and amass political influence. Not merely a brilliant work of persuasive journalism, this is also a document of the idealistic socialism that lingered after World War I, when the triumph of the movement's ideal still seemed possible.

American writer UPTON SINCLAIR (1878-1968) was an active socialist and contributor to many socialist publications. His muckracking books include The Moneychangers (1908), King Coal (1917), Oil! (1927), and Boston (1928).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596055230
  • Publisher: Cosimo
  • Publication date: 11/1/2005
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Read an Excerpt


BOOK TWO The Church of Good Society Within the House of Mammon his priesthood stands alert By mysteries attended, by dusk and splendors girt, Knowing, for faiths departed, his own shall still endure, And they be found his chosen, untroubled, solemn, sure. Within the House of Mammon the golden altar lifts Where dragon-lamps are shrouded as costly incense drifts A dust of old ideals, now fragrant from the coals, To tell of hopes long-ended, to tell the death of souls Sterling. The Rain Makers I begin with the Church of Good Society, because it happens to be the Church in which I was brought up. Reading this statement, some of my readers suspected me of snobbish pride. I search my heart; yes, it brings a hidden thrill that as far back as I can remember I knew this atmosphere of urbanity, that twice every Sunday those melodious and hypnotizing incantations were chanted in my childish ears! I take up the book of ritual, done in aristocratic black leather with gold lettering, and the old worn volume brings me strange stirrings of recollected awe. But I endeavor to repress these vestigial emotions and to see the volume not as a message from God to Good Society, but as a landmark of man's age-long struggle against myth and dogma used as a source of income and a shield to privilege. In the beginning, of course, the priest and the magician ruled the field. But today, as I examine this "Book of Common Prayer", I discover that there is at least one spot out of which he has been cleared entirely ; there appears no prayer to planets to stand still, or to comets to go away. The "Church of Good Society" has discovered astronomy! But if any astronomer attributes this to his instruments with theirmarvelous accuracy, let him at least stop to consider my "economic ...
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